What happens if I die without leaving a will?
Death can be a difficult topic to discuss at the best of times. It can, however, become even more challenging if you haven’t left a will to refer to. With increasing numbers of young and older people writing wills due to uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we answer the question “what happens if I die without leaving a will?”
Death without leaving a will – what is ‘dying intestate’?
If you pass away without leaving a will, the rules of intestacy determine what will happen to your estate. These regulations govern which members of your family will receive your estate. If you leave no surviving family members the Crown inherits your assets. The rule of intestacy states that when a death occurs without a will, the Crown distributes the estate by family-tree. If you die without making a will, there is no guarantee that your hard-earned assets go to the loved ones you want to support.
Can I choose who inherits without making a will?
So, we’ve answered the question ‘what happens if I die without leaving a will’. But if you don’t make a will can you still choose who inherits your estate? Unfortunately not. If you are married and have children, your spouse will receive your personal possessions, a statutory legacy of £270,000, if applicable, and half of the residuary estate, this is what remains after payment of debts, tax, administrative costs and the statutory legacy. Your children or grandchildren will receive the other half the residuary estate. If you have a husband or wife and no children, this entitles your spouse to all assets when you die. That might be fine if it’s what you intend to happen, but what if you’re not married but in a long term relationship, or living with a partner? In cases such as this, according to the rules of intestate, your partner would receive nothing from your estate.
What happens if I die without leaving a will – the solution
Where there’s a will there’s a way, quite literally. A competent will writing service should advise you on the following issues:
- Who will administer your estate?
- How and to whom will you leave your assets?
- Inheritance tax and its effects.
- Provision for disabled or incapacitated beneficiaries.
- Trusts for surviving partners, spouses, and children.
- Appointing guardians for children.
- Making gifts to charities.
You may feel that it is best to reserve making a will for older age but the truth is that it can give you security and lasting peace of mind no matter what stage of life you are in. If you own a home, have assets in the bank or children to care for, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you have a plan of action in place to protect them in your absence.
How to make a will
Progression Solicitors’ expert and straight-forward advice can help you navigate potentially complex issues of inheritance, wills, and tax advice. We understand that everybody’s circumstances are different. Whether a will is simple or complicated will depend largely on your personal and financial circumstances. Our specialist legal team will tailor your will to meet your specific needs, no matter how complex. We set a fixed-fee rate so that you can always understand any potential costs from the outset. Our team of professional executors can be appointed to administer your estate upon your death, with transparent pricing so you understand the real value of having a professional take care of things for you. We offer a free, no-obligation review service for your current will. We can help you make sure it’s tax efficient, and understand whether it’s affected by changes in law or circumstance.
If you would like to find out more about how to make a will and arrange a no-obligation appointment, contact us by email, telephone on 01524 889850, or in person at our offices in Barrow, Grange, Lancaster, Ulverston and Windermere today.